On Oct. 6, Still Watching Netflix released a YouTube video of “Squid Game” director Hwang Dong-hyuk, art director Chae Kyung-sun and actors Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo reacting to their hit show.
Actors’ Insights: In the video, Lee, who portrayed the character Gi-hun, and Park, who played the character Sang-woo, sit with the director and art director of “Squid Game” to share their thoughts on becoming a part of the show.
Lee says about the show: “The staff as well as the supporting actors all worked so hard. When I saw them working hand in hand to make each scene perfect, I thought ‘This is going to be great.’ It was a project in search of finding a bigger meaning.”
Park also expresses his joy and appreciation in working with the “Squid Game” cast. He tells Netflix, “I wanted to show more hidden messages to the viewers. I hope more people can appreciate this meticulously made drama.”
Casting: Hwang explains the casting for the show. While he already had an idea of the actors he wanted to play main characters Gi-hun and Sang-woo, Hwang had to search for the perfect fit for characters Sae-byeok, Il-Nam and Ali.
“I had these two in my mind from the very beginning,” Hwang shares, referring to actors Lee and Park.
“I thought I should cast people who are not that well known,” Hwang continues. He reveals that Anupam Tripathi, the actor who plays Ali Abdul in the show, came from India to Korea to study acting. “He was fluent in Korean and he could act. His emotional acting was amazing, too,” he adds.
Hwang states that he could not find the perfect actress to play Sae-byeok until he saw Jung Ho-yeon’s audition tape. “It was almost like a gift sent by God. Ho-yeon looked exactly like the Sae-byeok I had been looking for,” he states.
Set Design: Chae Kyung-sun, the art director of the drama, drew inspiration from a Dutch graphic artist and from concepts of modern day society for the set design of “Squid Game.
The inspiration behind the iconic “Squid Game” staircase was M.C. Escher’s House of Stairs, an artwork that features disorienting staircases that interweave and defy gravity.
“Whenever we entered any set, all the actors were busy taking pictures. It felt like an art museum,” actor Park says.
“Since modern society is in constant competition to climb the ladder, we thought about portraying that in the bed design,” Chae states. She also proposed a warehouse store concept to give the idea that the players were presented like objects piled on warehouse shelves.
Hwang explains that stacking the beds like a pyramid or like that of a Colosseum gave the look of a battle arena to which the game managers are able to identify the participants at a glance.
Red jumpsuits and gift-wrapped coffins: In the video, the director and art director explains the decision making and the process of creating the costumes used in the game.
While there are comments on the similarity of the red jumpsuit to Netflix’s “Money Heist,” Hwang explained that the jumpsuits were the best way to keep the guards looking anonymous without revealing their figures and looking like ants in a colony.
The masks for the guards went through countless designs, but Chae’s final design was inspired by the Hahoe-tal (traditional Korean masks) and the fencing mask. “In the process, we added a line on it and it kind of made it look like an ant’s face,” Chae recalled.
When asked about the meaning of the gift-wrapped coffins seen on the show, Chae explains how she had to tap into the mind of the game creator. She said, “I imagined he’d think he gave the contestants a chance, as if he’s a god. ‘This is my gift to you. Even your bodies being disposed of in the incinerator is a show of my mercy.’ So I thought, what if I put a ribbon on it?”
Reactions: Many “Squid Game” fans reacted to the YouTube video by leaving comments expressing their awe for the directors and actors of the show.
One comment, which received 2.8k likes, said, “The whole script was so poetically written… he’s a genius of a writer.”
Others commended the actors such as one user who wrote, “The acting in this show was phenomenal, way beyond my expectations.”
Many also applauded the work of Chae as the show’s art director. One comment read, “The visual style was the absolute PERFECT balance between incredibly dark themes and whimsical visuals. It tricked your brain in a very odd way into thinking you were watching something cheery and lighthearted, only to be hit with something macabre and evil. Brilliant job.”
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.